David Lecky's story typical of brain injury care: advocate

A brain-injury advocate says the story of David Lecky, the man with no short term memory stuck at a Halifax emergency department, is typical of the challenges facing Nova Scotians with severe brain injuries.

Man stuck in Halifax emergency room with nowhere to go

David Lecky suffered two severe head injuries. The most recent was in August, and it left him with no short term memory. Now, he needs somewhere safe to live. (CBC)

A brain-injury advocate says the story of David Lecky, the man with no short term memory stuck at a Halifax emergency department, is typical of the challenges facing Nova Scotians with severe brain injuries.

Lecky has been waiting in a locked room in the Halifax Infirmary building for nearly two days. His sister, Theresa Kersey, says she can no longer take care of him.

After two serious brain injuries, Lecky has no short term memory.

Following eight months in rehab, Kersey tried to care for him at home. But when left alone, he urinated off the porch, burned her books and twice flooded the home with propane.

“I feel really badly for him,” said Leona Burkey, executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia​. “That's no place to hang out for more than a few hours if necessary.”

As an advocate for people with acquired brain injuries, Burkey says she’s frustrated.

Lots of people are aware that there’s a problem. We're just missing the will to do something about it.- Leona Burkey, Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia

“Everyone's aware that there's a problem. All levels of health care and government. Lots of people are aware that there’s a problem. We're just missing the will to do something about it,” she said.

Burkey says more funding for transition programs could help some people avoid the need for long-term residential care, but even finding basic support can be difficult for families.

“What we've always been asking for as an association is for the province to look at a streamlined continuum of care so people have a path to follow,” she said.

Burkey says people with brain injuries seem to fall between the responsibilities of the Department of Health and Wellness and the Department of Community Services.

The departments say they do their best to co-operate.

“Well we certainly, with our partners at health, conduct assessments that point to the levels of support required for people and work in conjunction with them on serving those clients,” said Nancy MacLellan, the associate deputy minister of Community Services.

The province's health department says it recognizes there's a need for more services for people with acquired brain injuries.

It says it's working with various partners, including the Brain Injury Association, to try to figure out what those services might be.

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